I am sitting on a fold-out chair in front of a small rattan chest of drawers that’s doubling as my writing desk, on which my workhorse laptop wobbles. This is what happens when you denude your home of six years of its contents, put almost all of it into storage, and take yet another leap into the Great Unknown. After having lived, loved, lost and survived in this house – and let’s face it, having written an entire book about the process – I am moving on. It’s taken me years to reach this point, yet despite some tears yesterday at the sight of this beautiful shell suddenly empty, I am feeling rather sanguine at the change. After all the publicity for my book last year, I caught a horrible flu and suddenly realised I would eventually turn into Miss Havisham if I continued living under this roof, no matter how much “love and renovation” I had put into all it contained. Visions of dusty lace and darkened candlelit rooms, while melodramatic, swam in front of my eyes and prompted some thinking that led to making this irrevocable change.
The garden was eerily quiet of birds as my mother and I tidied up; the planes even stayed away, mocking my exasperation with them after so many six a.m. wake-up roars overhead.
Cover concepts for the paperback edition of The Young Widow’s Book of Home Improvement are underway for its release in the second half of 2009. Instead of a house, which so elegantly graced the hardback edition, the paper edition will feature a woman. Today, cleaning the empty house, this change of emphasis struck me as perfectly apt.